Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Thin Blue Line: Minister Bonnardel called to act

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After the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, the “Thin Blue Line” symbol has been taken over by extremist groups.

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Québec solidaire criticizes the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, for having transferred responsibility for deciding the question of wearing the Thin Blue Line symbol by police officers on their uniforms in the court of the provincial police chiefs, instead of taking responsibility for it.

The solidarity spokesperson for public security, Andrés Fontecilla, reacted Tuesday to our report which took stock of the management of this complex file at the Montreal City Police Service (SPVM). He says the moral dilemma is not for police chiefs.

We see that in the case of the SPVM, this is not an easy decision. This is a very sensitive subject within the police force. I understand them [the members of management]. So, it must be resolved at the top, at the highest authority which is the Minister of Public Security, said Mr. Fontecilla.

The Thin Blue Line badge, which features a black and gray Canadian flag crossed with a blue line, can have several meanings. For some members of the police, wearing the badge is a tribute to police officers who died in service, but for other people it can have a racist connotation since the symbol has also been used by extreme groups. right.

Our report mentioned that the Ministry of Public Security had sent a notice to all police services in Quebec on April 22, 2022, who informed them that it was up to each of them to decide on the legitimacy of wearing this symbol on the uniforms of their police officers.

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Anything lying around eventually gets dirty. And the file has dragged on for too long. […] I think that Minister François Bonnardel is playing the role of Pontius Pilate, by sending the problem back into the hands of the police chiefs, added the supportive MP.

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The spokesperson for Québec solidaire in matters of public security, Andrés Fontecilla, holds Minister François Bonnardel responsible for the inability of several police forces to decide on the legitimacy of wearing the “Thin Blue Line” symbol in their ranks.

According to information collected by Radio-Canada, almost the majority of police forces tolerate the wearing of the symbol while awaiting a final decision on the legitimacy of the Thin Blue Lineon their police uniforms.

For me, there should be a national directive that prohibits the wearing of this symbol in all Quebec police forces. […] It is up to Minister Bonnardel to take responsibility and demonstrate leadership.

A quote from Andrés Fontecilla, spokesperson for Québec solidaire in matters of public security

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Québec solidaire comes to the defense of the director of the SPVM, Fady Dagher, who must make a decision in the “Thin Blue Line” file. According to the party, this political decision belongs to a minister and not a police chief.

In caucus in Thetford Mines, the spokesperson for the official opposition on public security and the fight against racism, Liberal Jennifer Maccarone, considered that it is important that the ministers responsible ;express. What I find distressing is that we have heard nothing from the minister [François Bonnardel] on this subject. Neither him nor the minister responsible for the fight against racism [Christopher Skeete]. It's going to be important for them to speak out, said Ms. Maccarone.

What is important is to continue the dialogue. We understand that this is a very sensitive issue. We also understand that it is not the intention of the police to confront any minority group.

A quote from Jennifer Maccarone, Liberal MP for Westmount

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The official opposition spokesperson for public security, Liberal Jennifer Maccarone, denounced the silence of Ministers François Bonnardel and Christopher Skeete in the “Thin Blue Line” file.

In reaction to Andrés Fontecilla's remarks, François Bonnardel's cabinet rejected out of hand hand the blame placed on the minister.

The police uniform is the responsibility of the police services, believes Mr. Bonnardel's office, which recalls that the Ministry of Public Security, at the time when Martin Coiteux was its holder, in 2017, was blamed by the courts after SPVM police officers notably wore camouflage pants during the state funeral of Jacques Parizeau, two years earlier, in Montreal.

The ministry has already sent a directive to the police forces. This is their prerogative; each police force is responsible for issuing this directive. Moreover, a large number of municipal police forces, as well as the SQ, have already spoken out on the subject. We encourage those who remain to communicate their decision with their police, indicated in writing the team of Minister François Bonnardel's office.

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The team from the office of the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, affirms that the courts have rendered decisions according to which the government did not have to interfere with the clothing policies of police uniforms.

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